Tuesday, 1 November 2011
Wednesday, 19 October 2011
Sign the Petition here
The Boundary Commission for England have issued draft proposals to make all Parliamentary constituencies roughly equal in size. This requires Southport constituency to be expanded, which could be done in one of two ways.
One way would require adding on half of Formby, splitting Formby in two for the first time in its history. Not surprisingly, the people of Formby seem generally to be unhappy with this idea.
The other idea would be to rejoin Southport with its historic Lancashire hinterland - the villages to the north and east of our town whose people mainly work and shop here and who have already been taken out of the West Lancashire constituency. Southport newspapers circulate in this area and, not surprisingly, some residents of this area already initially contact the Southport MP, rather than the South Ribble MP.
Coupled with our SouthportLancs MP proposal is an idea to allow the whole of Formby to be re-united with the Ormskirk constituency in which it was placed for most of the past hundred years. Please note that having a shared MP would IN NO WAY affect the pattern of local government provision in the area.
Residents of Southport, Banks, Hesketh Bank, Tarleton etc, have until 5th December to make their views known. You can help us send a clear message to the Boundary Commission by signing our "SouthportLancs MP" petition either online or by downloading a printable copy.
The campaign to have a new Southport constituency including parts of Lancashire has been supported not only by the Liberal Democats and John Pugh MP, but also by the Southport Area Committee and the Southport Party. Parish Councils throughout the neighbouring areas are also being asked to consider supporting the proposals.
Wednesday, 12 October 2011
The email gave specific information about the schools in Southport which are set to get an extra £677,000 from the Pupil Premium to improve the education of the most disadvantaged children. This basically translates to an extra £488 for each child on free school meals in the town.
You can find out what each school in Sefton is getting by clicking here.
As the email from Sarah says this is a real milestone for our party. The Pupil Premium is a policy we devised and campaigned for, and put at the heart of our Coalition negotiations. Now it is more than good policy, it is a reality making a difference to the school down your road. It goes directly into classrooms and will benefit all pupils.
And as chair of the Finance Committee at Marshside Primary School I have to say I am delighted with the increase.
Tuesday, 11 October 2011
|2 of the exercise machines installed in Hesketh Park|
I have in the past been a member of a gym but like a lot of people I was lucky if I got there twice a month but with the equipment n the park I can do a full circuit whilst taking my dog for its daily walk - multitasking at its best. But its not just me using the equipment - I know many many people are taking the same approach and are building it into their daily schedules by getting fit courtesy of a walk in the park.
Friday, 7 October 2011
This was also the site this week of a meeting between local Southport councillor Sue McGuire and the new executive director of Friends of the Earth Andy Atkins, who was visiting the area to talk to FOE members and local residents about the hydraulic fracturing (fracking) about to take place here.
|Sue & Andy Atkins pictured in a field near the Cuadrilla drilling rig|
A local campaign group Ribble Estuary Against Fracking also met with Andy.
Wednesday, 5 October 2011
Tuesday, 28 June 2011
Health Profiles are created by the Department of Health to try and improve availability and access to health and health related information in England. The profiles are produce annually by the Public Health Observatories in England.
The Health Profiles for Sefton can be viewed here
Friday, 27 May 2011
Thursday, 26 May 2011
There have been 11 fatalities on this stretch of road over the last 10 years in addition to a large number of other road accidents - usually shunts. For those of you not familiar with Southport, this road runs from the end of the "sea front" to Woodvale and is used by most people as a by-pass around Southport - you can see the satellite picture of the road here Admittedly, from the map, the road looks like a nice pretty straight route but the road cuts through the sand dunes that make up part of the Birkdale and Ainsdale Sandhills Nature Reserve. This effectively means there is no where to go if motorist get into difficulty and although it looks straight there are some deceptive bends which make judging distances difficult.
The report put forward a number of proposals but I, for one, think we need to go further. During the debatet a number additional ideas were suggested including a reduction of the speed limit for the whole length of the road. Now don't get me wrong, I am not pro-speed however I believe that simply reducing the speed limit from 50mph to 40mph here will not solve the problem and may in fact make the problem worse . One of the contributory factors in most accidents has been inappropriate overtaking something which I believe is likely to increase if you get motorist travelling at 40 or even 30 miles and hour. It makes sense then to couple any reduction in speed with measures to prevent overtaking either for the whole length of the road or for specific sections of the road. A point I made during the debate last night and one which was supported by Police Inspector Fairbrother.
A further report including this suggestion is set to be debated at the Southport Area Committee meeting in July .
Tuesday, 24 May 2011
It seems however that this is not a problem with an easy solution and in fact there are a number of court cases dealing with exactly this issue, including Miller v Jackson  QB 966 in which Lord Denning began with a rather lyrical opening "In summertime village cricket is the delight of everyone." and the case of Bolton v Stone  AC 850,  1 All ER 1078 which actually went to the House of Lords.
Saturday, 21 May 2011
Macbeth is one of my favourite plays with its politics, power struggles and episodes of madness not to mention 3 witches with the power to determine fates. I have studied the play several times whilst at school but have never seen it. You could almost taste the tension as the stage was set for the first act and the Everyman was a fantastic venue. The way that the spaces within the theatre were used by the actors meant everyone in the audience felt a part of the production.
The performances of the whole cast were great and being a bit of a David Morrissey fan I thought he blew the place apart as Macbeth. And when the last curtain call came the whole cast were greeted by a standing ovation.
David also introduced the audience to the charity CAST - the CREATIVE ARTS SCHOOLS TRUST that he is actively involved in which takes all aspects of the performing arts to those places worlwide that have no artistic provision or facilities.
A great night and well worth a trip (if there are any tickets left)
Monday, 9 May 2011
We had a great candidate in Lauren Keith who was set to replace the retiring Lib Dem Councillor Carmel Preston. Lauren worked hard during the campaign showing a great enthusiasm, commitment and energy which will make her a brilliant councillor in the future.
In the main, our support held up strongly but, as in many other places, national politics overshadowed the local campaign.
A huge thank you to everyone in the ward, from Lib Dem members, supporters and residents who helped with the campaign. A big thank you also to all those residents who did vote for Lauren this year and who continue to recognise and support the work of the Liberal Democrats both here in Cambridge ward and across Southport.
|Lauren and Sue preparing for election day 2011|
Friday, 8 April 2011
The application is to install a 12.5m high slim line monopole supporting 6 antennas would be sited behind the current conifer hedge along Fylde Road. Click here to view the application in full and enter S/2011/0362.
We have demanded, and made sure, that this planning application is properly considered by the full Sefton Council planning committee of councillors because of concerns expressed by some local residents. The meeting takes place on 4th May at Southport Town Hall at 6.30pm.
To object, write to Sefton Council’s Planning Department, Magdalen House, 30 Trinity Road, Bootle L20 3NJ or use the on-line comments form. The deadline for receipt of objections is 10am Thursday 28th April however given the Bank Holiday weekend and the Easter break the sooner objections are received the better. A petition from a minimum of 25 residents and signed/supported by a local councillor (which we, of course, would agree to do) gives one of the petitioners the opportunity to speak for 5 minutes at the planning committee meeting.
We should tell you, in all honesty, that the legally valid reasons for turning down such an application are limited. Councillors on the Planning Committee are required to work within national planning legislation. For example, health concerns are technically not lawful reasons for rejection, although that does not, of course, stop you saying what you feel. Issues worth mentioning include things like loss of visual amenity overbearing nature of the mast and, of course, anything that you personally think is important.
It would be misleading of us to suggest or forecast the outcome or build up hopes of refusal given the fact that whatever the planning committee decides, the phone company usually appeals and an independent Planning Inspector subsequently gives permission. And that decision is final with no further right of appeal.
Sunday, 3 April 2011
Saturday, 5 March 2011
Monday, 28 February 2011
|Focus Editor Lauren Keith and Councillor Sue McGuire inspect Marshside Road |
following reports that the recently resurfaced road is not up to scratch.
The road, which was resurfaced last year, now has signs warning drivers of lose stones. It appears that the recent severe weather may have caused the newly laid surface to disintegrate creating a significant amount of loose chippings on the highway and a visually scarred surface. Officers from the Council have met with the highway contractor who undertook the resurfacing work land it has been agreed that the contractor will undertake remedial work at his own expense later in the year.
In the meantime, the Council will continue to monitor the condition of the road and will do further sweeping if necessary.
Friday, 25 February 2011
The walk now in its ninth year is open to everyone and we are encouraging as many people as possible to take part. As local activist Lauren Keith, explained “Everybody is welcome! It can be a nice relaxing stroll around the park to admire the Spring flowers, a healthy jog or, for those more energetic, a sprint! Over the years its raised thousands of pounds for a great cause. Statistics out earlier this year indicate that the chances of getting breast cancer have risen from one woman in nine to one woman in eight. This means it’s more important than ever for money to be raised not only to help those already suffering with the disease, but to be directed towards more research into the disease.
|Lauren Keith and Sarah Harding stepping out at last years event|
Lauren adds "Please bring along lots of family and friends, and help to make this a record breaking fundraising year.”
For more details about the walk contact Councillor Sue McGuire on 07766968162 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Saturday, 19 February 2011
I felt a bit guilty sitting in my nice family kitchen eating my poached egg for breakfast while reading this morning’s Independent. The front page carried a picture of Bahraini protesters on the streets on Manama, with the headline ‘They didn’t run away. They faced the bullets head on.’
Robert Fisk has been leading the journalistic charge. His accounts from the streets of Egypt and now Bahrain have been fascinating, insightful and highly emotive.
People have been drawing parallels between the Egyptian protests and the Iranian revolution of 1979. However, the marked difference is the lack of Anti-American and Western feeling . Ayatollah Khomeini’s traditional Shia Islamism appealed to a people who felt their culture had been eroded by the Shah, who was of course a symbol of colonialism, having been installed after the West had decided that Prime Minister Mossadegh was far too dangerous after he had had the audacity to nationalise what had been the British controlled Anglo-Iranian oil industry.
The current protests are less to do with religion and culture, and are more to do with jobs and democracy. Frustration and despair that the police were preventing him from selling his fruit and vegetables drove twenty five year old Ahmed Hashem el-Sayed to set himself alight, kickstarting the Egyptian protests. The unrest that started in Tunisia and which is spreading throughout the Arab world, actually bears more resemblance to the European revolutions of 1848.
These revolutions are often overlooked, obviously overshadowed by the First World War and the massive political and social changes that this heralded. 1848 saw revolutions in many countries including France, Germany, Switzerland and Belgium. Like the current protests, people across many of these countries had common problems. In 1848, new and radical ideas where taking hold; ideas that were later to form the backdrop to the First World War. The Habsburg Empire, Germany and Italy were all made up of many states comprising many nationalities. Nationalism and democratic ideas were gaining currency; yet many people were still peasants, tied by bonds of servitude that had changed little since Medieval times and ruled by absolutist monarchies.
These Revolutions failed to make as much impact as many at the time thought they would. It did result in the French Second Republic and lasting reforms in Denmark and the Netherlands, but in many other countries it simply petered out. One of the reasons behind this was that Government’s offered moderate reforms, which satisfied the protesters. In many cases, these ‘reforms’ didn’t occur and in some cases regimes cracked down to ensure that rebellion couldn’t flare up again. For instance in Hungary, the Emperor of the Hapsburg Empire, Ferdinand, promised the country a constitution, yet this failed to materialise and Hungary ended up under brutal martial law.
The protesters of 1848 were not people who had any experience of questioning the status quo; ideas about personal freedom and liberalism were still in their infancy. Also, it’s fair to say that they were more trusting of what their monarchs and Governments promised. In a world of instant communication protests are not hard to start, and so unlike 1848 this genie will be very difficult to put back into the bottle.
I hope that the protesters in Bahrain and Egypt can achieve concrete, democratic changes, that really do transform politics and society. As Marx said, ‘Revolutions are the locomotives of history.’ Lets hope they keep moving!
Monday, 14 February 2011
I recently stumbled across a dog eared copy of Winifred Holtby's novel 'South Riding' in a charity shop. I had never heard of the novel or its author, but it is one of the best and most emotive books I have read.
Saturday, 12 February 2011
As Lauren explained "I have some concerns regarding this application given that the current building is so very iconic for this area of Southport forming as it does a gateway entrance for Hesketh Park. It is vital that developers work with the original building as much as possible to retain the architectural character of this area of Southport."
To see the full planning application please go to the Sefton Council web site If you would like to object you can write to Sefton Council’s Planning Department, Magdalen House, 30 Trinity Road, Bootle L20 3NJ or complete the online form.
It is also possible to organise a petition against the application. The petition must be supported by at least 25 residents and signed/supported by a local councillor (which Cllr Sue McGuire would be very happy to do). If a petition is raised it will provide the opportunity for one of the petitioners to speak for 5 minutes at the planning committee meeting.
Friday, 4 February 2011
The fact that they are studying World War 1 got me thinking back to my days at high school and the history I studied - from the Italian Renaissance to James II. Thrilling as they were, they are not topics which come up too often in conversation and not ones which really prepare you for today's world. So I was really pleased to learn the Key Stage 3 History Curriculum now includes the following topics:
European and world history
If we want our children to understand the world today and their part in it then its vital that they are given the opportunity to study those recent events which have shaped it and this means not glossing over the history of the 20th Century or the Two World Wars (as I believe happened in my day).
- the impact of significant political, social, cultural, religious, technological and/or economic developments and events on past European and world societies
- the changing nature of conflict and cooperation between countries and peoples and its lasting impact on national, ethnic, racial, cultural or religious issues, including the nature and impact of the two world wars and the Holocaust, and the role of European and international institutions in resolving conflicts.
Children must see and study for themselves the effect wars have on real people, on governments and on countries. Its essential that their view of war is not dictated by Hollywood blockbusters or more worryingly by graphic video games.
Thursday, 3 February 2011
Saturday, 29 January 2011
Friday, 28 January 2011
Basically under the new proposals the responsibility for public health will return once again to the Local Authorities, after an absence of 40 years. At the meeting there was an open and frank discussion around this during which I raised the question of funding since in my experience its always good to know where the money is. From April 2013 local authorities will receive a ring fenced public health budget however what I wanted to know is how this budget is going to be decided, effectively what funding formulae is going to be used to determine how much each LA would receive.
This question generated a debate around the various communities that make up Sefton however Hannah was at this stage unable to give a clear answer and it was agreed that this question would form part of the response from Sefton Council to the NHS white paper.
Imagine my delight then when later that evening I was able to pose exactly the same question to Paul Burstow MP Lib Dem Health Minister.
I have to say Paul understood exactly the point I was trying to make and agreed that he would look into the possibility of using the Super Output Area data from Indices of Multiple Deprivation to determinine the funding stream.
Now thats what I call communication!